Arsenal’s British Core – The dream that turned into Wenger’s nightmare

In December 2012, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson all signed new long-term contracts at Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger describing them as the club’s ‘British core’. Wenger gushed: “The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young players in order to get them to develop their talent at the club.”

Five years on and it is now obvious that Wenger’s hopes of these youngster’s leading the Gunners to long term success in the Premier League has fallen apart. Jack Wilshere was supposed to be the star of the show, has played just 66 League games in the following 4 years since signing, scoring just 9 goals, and is now back at Arsenal and admitting that he “can’t get a game” at the moment.

Kieran Gibbs never ever became a regular first teamer, and was sold this summer, along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who also played in fits and starts under Wenger and has managed only 16 goals since 2012. Aaron Ramsey is the only one that has really been a regular (or one of Wenger’s ‘favourites’) and had one great season when he scored 16 goals but only totalled 21 over the other 4 seasons. Hardly world-beating form. And Jenkinson? Well, the less said the better….

So Ramsey is the only one that is really a sort of success story, and he has watched his English mates move away one by one, and lamented the loss of the Ox to Liverpool last week. “Another of our British boys heading on to new things. Not only have we lost a great player we’ve lost a great guy in the changing room,” Ramsey wrote.

“It is sad to see you go mate. Had some great memories over the years playing along side you and I wish you all the best with this new chapter in your life.”

Wenger’s dreams have fallen by the wayside, and the British players, as well as the fans, have become disillusioned with Wenger’s ability to spot and nurture the best of British talent. In fact in the Gunners first team right now only Iwobi and Bellerin have come from the academy to join Ramsey as semi-regular starters. This is not what Wenger was hoping for.

Well the dream was nice while it lasted.

Darren N


  1. JJPawn says:

    Good to see some good writing to educate the fan base.
    I have tried my best, but the irrational anger is too much to over come.

    1. Me says:

      Do you think it is rational to praise Arsenal then?
      The prices that Arsenal fans are paying to watch this, the loyal support they give and its the same result season after season after season with him in charge.
      Arsenal fan’s want him GONE – its as simple as that and whether that is rational or irrational to you is irrelevant.
      He was a deluded fool to stay on…

  2. Frank says:

    Wenger is the one that failed them by playing them out of position.

    Apart from Coquelin’s great one season, Wenger has failed to get a good defensive midfielder since Gilberto left. Every team that has won the premier league has won it on the back of a solid defensive midfielder and a hard working box-to-box midfielder and Wenger doesn’t even use one!

    I have no doubt that Ramsey and Wilshere would have been more successful with a world class defensive midfielder protecting the back four and allowing those two to push forward.

    1. Frank says:

      I feel Wenger should experiment with the midfield (he does it everywhere else) and try Holding or Chambers as a defensive midfielder with Ramsey. Ozil hasn’t been offering anything so maybe give Wilshere a game in the no.10 and add some passion to the team. We can’t get any worse can we?

  3. wenger says:

    The players that were played out of position was to play more key players like Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla. Chambo played RW/LW, until he asked to play in the middle, he never performed there, plus Ozil, once Ramsey also accommodate that position.The british core were never core players, but a change Arsenal made when they are always criticised for non-english players, the fans asked for it then blamed it on Wenger afterward?

    At that time, I think the british core was very important for the club, however, our competitor were upgrading on international players, big signings, high wages. Wenger tried to maintain EPL tradition. You cant really blame him for that.

  4. u.k says:

    yea right…u cant blame him indeed..

  5. Nwaneri says:

    British core my foot! Bunch of mediocres! Discard all of them

  6. franck says:

    The british Core goes to show what every one,aside the British,think of British players.They are rubbish except for their defenders.when u look at the way the english media bashes ozil and u wonder why and look at how mediocre the Three Lions have been over the last decade then u realise the English people do not really know anymore what good football is.thats why they do not apreciate a great talent in Ozil.and thats why English clubs are rubbish in the UCL too.

  7. among all the British core who has really been fit ? u can’t develop as a young player when you don’t stay fit .. Ramsey had a spell of two seasons fit and he was world class in the second season of that spell. if wilshere and Ramsey had been fit we would not have bought ozil in the first place.. Gibbs and ox also… jekinson was having a good time at West Ham but fitness issue obstructed him too.. enough said.. it’s just bad luck.. wenger even tried not to over play ox but fate would let him enjoy those guys.. the fact that wenger can still struck gold in young player is 100% but can he still coach is to greatness?? am not sure regrettably… but I will give Arsenal a conducive atmosphere as a fan with my support come rain come shine

  8. Ivan says:

    I agree the English players plus Ramsey were way overrated. And I find the National team even more of a joke although to say that out loud at World Cup time invites abuse from the ignorant who seem to forget that we have been embarrassingly crap for decades and plaster flags all over their houses and cars.
    However back to our lot the question I really want to know is why did Wenger make such a song and dance about how good they were and if they were any good then how have they failed so spectacularly.
    Ramsey has been the most succesful as he has a bit of an eye for goal if he is given no other responsibilities but other than that he gives the ball away at critical times and is incapable of any form of tracking back.
    Gibbs and Wilshire never improved (sorry devotees of Wilshire but even last year before he got injured all I saw him do was run into blind alleys and lose the ball)
    Jenkinson actually got worse and The Ox was very hit and miss throught his time with us and I was not bothered that he went.

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